Captain James Văn Thạch, USA (Ret.) is a highly decorated United States Army veteran who was wounded twice in the line of duty in Iraq. He is a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient, and is the first Vietnamese-American to become an advisor to the New Iraqi Army. In recognition of his service, Captain James Van Thach was awarded the honorary title of Brigadier General by the Iraqi government. He was designated the tremendous task of spearheading a $6.8 million project, building Combat Outpost Shocker a forward-operations base in Iraq just a few kilometers from the border with Iran.
He is a native of Bellerose, Queens where he resides today.
After graduating from Touro Law School, Captain James Van Thach volunteered for a two year tour of duty in Iraq where he was first injured in an IED explosion. After recovering from those injuries, he was injured again during a rocket attack, which exploded less than 20 meters from where he was standing.
As a result of those injuries, James retired from the Army in 2009, and in May of 2012 was invited to participate in Team Training at Canine Companions for Independence in Medford, NY. James was matched with his service dog and now constant companion, Liz.
Since receiving Liz, James has gained more self-confidence and persevered through his injuries and was strong enough in 2013 to take a tour to Afghanistan on Operation Proper Exit to speak to over 1,500 troops about his wounds and how having his service dog has changed his life.
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